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Wednesday, February 23, 2011



Gum tragacath







Gum Tragacant is obtained from trunk of a thorny plant growing naturally in Anatolian, Persian and Turkestan mountians and called “gaven”. The sap coming out of scratches made on the branches dries up later and solidifies in bone white colored pieces. It is dropped in water with very low hardness at the rate of 20-40 grams/3 litres and kept for two days.The gum having dissolved completely is filtered through a cloth bag and poured into the basin. It should have a dentisty of buttermilk.Gum tragacanth is widely used as herbal medicene(in throat and stomach diseases) in cosmetic and textile industry.

Dye are “mineral dyes” as it is called in clasiccal method obtained from natural metal oxides. Turkish is a very rich country in respect of such natural dyes.Any kind of earth may be first translated into mud then filtered and crushed to from a dye.

Painthbrushes; are made of horsehair bound around a rosetree stick, in a manner to from a circumference with hollow centre.Rosetree is preferred because it prevents mould. Brushes of different thickness and length enable dye application and dye control.

Basin is made of wood or metal of 4-6 cm. depth an about some milimeter larger than the paper size (to offset the dilatation of paper when wet). Usual paper zizes are 35X50 cm. or 25X35 cm.

Water; preferably withouth hardness.The ideal is distilled water. In older times rainwater was favorite but because of acide rain in our times it is no longer advisable.

Paper: The ideal paper is the one handmade and having a high absorbtion capacity and acid-free. On account of its rarity and high cost we don’t advise it to begginers. Instead, any kind of non glossy paper may be used. In order to increase

the absorbtion capaticy and to fix the dye on it(more durable) and alumina solution may be applied on the paper surface. Thus dyes are made more easy to fix.

Gall: The most importent metarial to make marbling. A marbler must well understand what gall is and its functions. To my openion the secret of the marbling lies in the gall. Its main functions are :

1. to ensure surface tension, dye spreading over the water surface otherwice dyes sink.

2. to prevent mixture of dyes. For instance when blue yellow are simultaneously applied and mixed up as much as possible never green comes out.

3. to assist dye fixation on the paper.

4. to give different shades of the same color and different size of patterns.


Marbling is similar to cooking; it is impossible to give the exact recipe. Everyone has his own mixture of colors and patterns and wishes to reflect to own world.

Marbling results by the simultaneous operation of many accurate balances. Purity and application rules must be streaktly observed. The density of the gummed water and the relationships between the water and the dye, the dye and the tensioning agent (gall), the quantity of gall in the dye are all very important. It may take some time to establish such a delicate balance. But was everything is ready marbling is easily and quickly performed. Yet this property of the marbling makes it very suitable for a “theraphy”.

Dyes are spopotted on the surface of the water by means of paintbrushes and according to quantities and colors desired. Dyes should not be too concentrated. Concentric, superposed drops thus applied form a pattern called “Battal”. This pattern is the origin of almost all others. Now if this basic pattern is handled by parellel lines made by a thin pencil or chip moved back and forth you obtain “the back-and-forth”. If this design is crossed out by means of a comb a “combed-pattern” is obtained. In case the “back-and-forth” is diagonally crossed again, it becomes “shawl” sample. Combed marbling may be made into back-and-forth or shawl design. When a convolute line is applied from the outer circumference towards the centre you obtain a “nightingale nest”. In the event small colorfull dots are spotted on the back-and-forth or shawl design you get the “sprinkled marbling”. If, instead, you apply larger dots (which means with higher rate of gall contents) you obtain the “prophyry marble” which resemble most to marble.

Nonetheless above patterns may be divesified by selecting one of the above as a basis and making concentric drops of different colors. Mehmet Efendi (the orator of Saint Sophia, deceased in 1973) first formed flower and other patterns, wich were subsequenly called the “Orator pattern” (Hatip ebrusu). Later on these patterns developed into flower shaped marblings.

The sheet of paper is lard from one side onto any of above designs prepared on the gummed water in the basin. Now this processing makes the dye fixed on the paper. The paper is then careflly lifted off the basin without stripping too much the gum off the surface. In classic Turkish marbling the paper taken out of the basin is not washed off. The thin layer of gum remaining on the surface forms a protective (fixing) coat. The paper is laid on a flat surface and let to dry up.

Presuming every material is made ready, the translation of the patterns made on the surface water is accomplisheed within 3-5 minutes or at most, 15 minutes. This infinity of colors and shapes quickly formed makes the marbling amazing at and fascinates the spectator (if any). It makes eveything forgotten. One evening the late calligraphy and marbling master, Necmetting Okyay started to make marbling.Some time later he heard a sound coming from the street and supposed that it was the voice of a street seller making business late in the night: to his surprise this was the müezzin performing the morning player call.

Marbling Tools and Equipments

Marbling vessel: It’s a can like a vessel made of stainless chrome nickel material in 5-6 cm depth and usually in 35x50 cm sizes. Marbling vessel are made of materials such as galvanized sheet of iron,aluminium and even glass.

Brush: These are the brushes that are made of horsehair and by marbling artists themselves to sprinkle dye on surface of the vessel.These marbling brushes are sold in the markets from now on.Recently,rose branch is used mostly to make brush stem as it was used by the masters before.

Deste Seng: It’s a tool made of marble to redound dyes.

Spatula: It’s a tool to stir the water in the vessel and collect together the scattered material while redounding.

Dye Pot: They are the pots of which mouth part is wide, made by glass to preserve marbling dyes.As we need three different dye pots for marbling surface in traditional marbling,100 cc glass pots in three different sizes are used to be able to pick the dye’order.

Stick(Biz):It’s a tool to figure circled dye drops on the water and to make ebb and flow,drop dye for making flowers in the vessel.Sticks made of stainless steel generally have tree stick.Sticks can be used in different wheels from 0.5 to 7-8 mm sizes.Their ends should be elliptical and made of high quality materials.

Pecten: It’s a tool made by attaching nearly 5 cm strings called narrow or wide pectened according to thickness to wooden tablet in order,to make pectened marbling.’Hyacinth pecten’ marbling where strings are ordered like an egg is used to make hyacinth as well


Drying Table: It’s a tool consists of shelves in 55x75 cm sizes and designed to dry marbled paper taken from vessel well and fast.

Pipette:It’s a tool used for dropping gall,water and naphtha to dyes.Arranging the proportion of dyes in marbling is difficult, so water and gall are added by pipette and the best proportion is accessed slowly and after some trials.

Raising Consistency Materials: These are the materials such as tragacanth,’deniz kadayıf’,spotted orchid,linseed added to water to raise the water consistency in the vessel.Tragacanth is the most important material used in our traditional marbling.As there are recipes of tragacanth almost in every web sites,here,we decided to recipe ‘deniz kadayıf’.’Deniz kadayıf’is a substance obtained from algae.It’s melted by mixing and adding 2-3 spoon heaping of ‘deniz kadayıf’to 5 litres warm water.It’s necessary that it shouldn’t be melted in neither too warm nor too cold water.It will be dissoluted completely if you do three times repetitions in ten minutes intervals and wait 15-20 minutes at each repetitions so you can use it after 5-6 hours.You can make this prepared liquid life longer by adding nearly one spoon formal dehit to the 5 litres ‘deniz kadayıf’water before start to use.It’s a preferred substance as it can be prepared more easily than tragacanth.It’s more suitable to keep it in the fridge in hot weathers as it may be spoiled easily.

Marbling Dye: Dyes called ochre which aren’t dissoluted in water are used in traditional marbling.Both marbling and pigment dyes produced from soil and some plants are used for marbling.The intention of ochre is that these are the natural dyes don’t have acid and casein.The reason of using natural dyes in marbling is that there is no addition agent and so dyes stay colorful for a long time.

Marbling Art Die Preparation: Dye in soil mode is smashed well and stones or grits,etc. are cleaned with a sieve.Some is water added after dropping pure dye to a pot and waited for a while by mixing.Dyes with water are taken to another pot after mixing process. Sediments at the bottom are thrown and this process is repeated for 3-4 times.Remained dye is cleared with tight seive and surplus water emptied.Afer these processes,dye is ready to be used.

May be smashing dye is the most important detail while preparing marbling dyes.If dye used for marbling isn’t smashed well,it will not float on the water and stay at the bottom and look faded because of rubbing against to vessel.Because of these reasons you should be patient and smash dyes sufficiently.High quality dyes are necessary to be able to make fine marbling.A handful dye is taken and put into desteseng coaster,digged a hole to put water in the middle of dye and mixed with water.After mixing,dye becoming mud is smashed with the help of desteseng by doing movements like 8.After smashing sufficiently,dye is put into a pot after adding tragacanth and waited for a while.Making dyes with tragacanth wait is beneficial for dye quality and it results better.

Naphtha(turbentine): After adding naphtha to marbling dyes,dye drops sprinkled to vessel scatter if there are small air bubbles inside.The usage of naphtha dye hides mistakes resulted from dust as it makes effects like dust hole dropping to vessel.It’s necessary to try by adding it in one drop step and be patient to find right naphtha proportion.You need to dry brush completely that used for naphtha dye to use it for floral marbling;because over-naphtha dye produces bigger circled shapes on flower surface and changes surface image.It looks aesthetic to make small sprinkles on vessel.

Oxen Gall: When used in marbling, it prevents dye, by shaping circled on the surface, go into deep and dyes mix.Generally, cattle gall is used.Gall which is yellow and smells bad,is the most important substance for marbling.(person who likes marbling bears its smell).Proportion setting for gall is made by adding gall to first dye in small quantity and increasing it in linear equation for the rest dyes.If you sprinkle dye which has less gall on the dye which has more gall,dye will not open and sink.Gall which spoils in hot weathers should be preserved in fridge.

Marbling Water: Water which will be used for marbling should be clear.Even though it’s not problem to prepare ‘deniz kadayıf’ or tragacanthed water with fountain water in İstanbul,it’s tested that some water isn’t appropriate for usage.


  1. can u please give a step by step method description...specially for making dyes...what to add in the raw color pigment?? i am doing it alone without any mentor...

  2. Please call me from 973 930 38 14 so i an give you step by step method description.

  3. hi I'd like to purchase some ebru tools espeasialy the biz, can you please call me or email me


  4. do you sell these items ? if yes plz contact me on

  5. I'd like to buy ebru materials, how to do that? please contact me: thank you

  6. I would like to buy supplies. Can you contact me at to advise? Thanks.

  7. Hello, I discovered ebru a few months ago and it's totally amazing! I would like to buy ebru materials, can you please contact me : Thanks a lot.

  8. I am having an ebru workshop and found it very exciting and interesting and I really would like to buy the ebru materials. If you could help me please contact me on
    Thank you.

  9. Hi do you know where I can buy these items, contact me on

  10. Ebru art is simply amazing.. I tried it at home and it came out great but still a couple of supplies are missing... if you sell these items contact me-

  11. Hello, I am having a hard time obtaining the sticks for ebru design. Can you tell me where I can buy them?
    Thank you!

  12. please contact me if i can buy a kit from you..

  13. Great tutorial Yasemin, thanks for taking the time out to post it.

    FYI, I used it as a reference on a recent paper marbling tutorial I did myself a week or two ago, figured it might be a good resource for some of your readers...

    Keep up the good work and again, many thanks!
    ~ Paul

  14. hi i want to buy whole kit of ebru if it is avaliable plz in form me the cost of it to

  15. Is tragacanth same as Kitre?

  16. Is clay earth pigment = dye ?

    Sorry, my native language isn't English, so I'm bit confused :)

  17. Hi, Thank you for this post. Best one i've seen so far. Is there anyway I can purchase these tools somewhere. If so, Please contact me at I appreciate it in advance.

  18. Hi I would like buy few of things. Can I contact you?

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. I see there are a lot of websites that sell these materials. I'm curious which ones you use or if you know of a place that is extremely affordable to start buying. I do art on a regular basis and would want to save money but still have good quality. Thank you.

  21. I got pebeo marbling paint and methylcellulose for the base but i am having problems floating the paont on the base. Nothong work. Can someone help me please.

  22. I got pebeo marbling paint and methylcellulose for the base but i am having problems floating the paint on the base. Nothing works. Can someone help me please

    1. Please see my lower reply message to your comment. Hopefully it helps.

  23. From my first hand knowledge and I am still a rookie ebru artist if your using methocel, you need to add household ammonia to your mix. This is an answer to an above problem.

  24. Your best bet is to use carrageenan (sic) also jacquard paints has a great starter kit which includes, carageenan and alum for paper and fabric treatment. Some come with methocel and for that your need household ammonia to add to your size.

  25. dove è possibile acquistare il set completo?



My photo
little falls, new jersey, United States
I am a Turkish paper marbling artist using craft and artistic expression to create various works of craft-art. I studied and practiced TURKISH PAPER MARBLING methods of paper marbling in Germany and Turkey.I have developed many stylized papers. My favorite proved to be the paper that has a very good surface and strength for paper marbling (ebru art ) Marbling has an energy of it's own, it seems alive as it works with me to provide mystical and uniquely crafted patterns and images with an artistic life. I studied marbling with my mother Yurdagul Ozsavasci master marbler from Turkey Istanbul . I have presented my work in exhibits at galleries in Germany Manhattan New York and Turkey. Now I have come home continue my marbling art in new jersey. I professionally teach for years Turkish paper marbling in Manhattan Long Island and Brooklyn at the Turkish Cultural centers and attend in many Festivals Friend ship dinners and TV interviews like Ebru TV and Kanal Turk.
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